THINK spending more time in the gym will help you achieve that dream body even sooner? Think again. Hitting the sack is the real secret to muscular size, strength, and efficient recovery.

According to expert Nick Ebner: “It just might be the most important element of your training.”

Is there an ideal amount of sleep you should be getting every night?

Yes. Most studies show somewhere between 7-9 hours per night as ideal for most.

What happens during sleep that helps build muscle?

As we sleep, energy consumption is lowered, allowing us to use the food we eat during the day to build muscle. A growth hormone is naturally released, improving muscular recovery and regeneration. Also, as we sleep the brain recharges. This is important for building muscle because a rested brain is motivated and focused. When you sleep, you recover, and when you recover you replace, repair, and rebuild—all of which are needed for optimal progress.

How can sleep control weight?

People who get enough amount of sleep tend to weigh less. Sleep significantly affects two of the hormones in the human body that influence appetite. Ghrehlin enhances appetite and can lead to weight gain. Leptin represses appetite and can support weight loss. Insufficient sleep leads to an increase in ghrelin and a decrease in leptin, which may lead to weight gain.